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Interview in english (below)
do you trained youself before your work and how do you work on improving
yourself now? Any secrets you’d like to share?
I believe concept artists are a little like high performance athletes,
which have to stay in training all the time. When I was younger, I would
identify certain areas in my artistry where I had weaknesses and focus
on them for weeks to master them. I remember that in art school, I had
problems drawing feet and portraying how characters stand. So I started
to draw feet and shoes and people standing for weeks - on the bus stop,
in the coffee shop, during school, etc. until I could draw them in my
sleep. I still do this today. Just recently, I picked up a book on how
to draw cars for beginners. I actually seem to return more and more to
basics, like light, color, perspective, and anatomy. Today when I approach
a new project, I document much more than I used to. I read books about
the subject matter, watch DVDs and endlessly surf the internet for images,
which end up in my reference folder. Even when not working, I am constantly
recording new images for my visual and mental library.
Which artists once influenced you and who are the
artists you admire now?
In my youth, I was inspired by artists who were artistic storytellers
and universe creators like Moebius, Enki Bilal, Syd Mead, Brian Froud
and last but not least, my compatriot H.R. Giger. Art school opened my
eyes to the old masters like Rembrandt and Velasquez. I am also very fond
of modern artists of the sixties like Yves Klein, Marc Rothko and Jackson
Your work combines art and science perfect and requires
you to have a wide scope of knowledge,what knowledge do you need to study
For universe designers in particular, it is important to have a large
knowledge base. It is often not enough to simply know how things look.
It is crucial to understand how they work. Personally, I am also very
interested in anthropology. I love to study cultures - their social, political,
economic and spiritual backgrounds. I found out one of the best ways of
learning is by traveling.
What tools do you use to create? What are your favorite
I sketch into traditional sketchbooks. I also still do designs on paper
with markers, but most of my paintings are directly produced in Adobe
Most works we can see from your website are 2D works,do
you also create 3D works and animation?
I am familiar with the basics of Maya, After Effects and couple of other
editing programs, but for my personal work, I am still mainly 2D. If I
get some time off, I would like to spend more time learning 3D modeling.
How do you describe your style? Do you strive to
be as versatile as possible or do you stick to one thing?
As a commercial designer, I adapt my style to the needs of the projects
I’m working on. I have done various styles, from cute fantasy worlds
such as Final Fantasy IX to the dark science fiction universes such as
the Matrix and Dark City. I also switch between hyper-real matte paintings
to completely unrealistic-looking game worlds. If I would have to describe
my own style, I would call it Digital Fantastic Realism.
You have traveled a lot before,have you ever been
to China?How much do you know about China and what interests you most?
In Switzerland, we studied China intensively in school. As a child, I
always dreamed of traveling down the Yangtze river and visiting the Forbidden
City in Beijing. My wife’s mother is Tahitian of Chinese descent,
and we planned our honeymoon to Hong Kong and Shanghai, but we had to
change our plans due to the recent SARs outbreak. We still hope to visit
China as soon as we get an opportunity.
We heard that you want to find projects to do in
Shanghai or Hong Kong. Most of our readers are early professionals in
CG field and they can buy our magazines in these two cities as well, they
will know you more by reading this articles about you, do you have anything
to say to them? Or any advice to students who are learning CG here?
Some of the best work I have recently seen comes from China. After talking
to many industry leaders, I think that China will soon become the biggest
market for video games. In my opinion, it is important for Chinese artists
and professionals to use their intrinsic knowledge of their own country
and culture to create and lead the new wave of projects in the years to
We got the news that you will release 2 training
DVDs and the Entropia stamps soon,could you tell more about them?Can we
buy them here in China?
I just released my first two training DVDs on digital painting with the
GNOMON WORKSHOP. They are available online:
I am also publishing a book with Design Studio Press. The book is about
a fantastic place called ENTROPIA and will be released by the end of the
year. I can’t discuss too much about it right now, but I promise
to let you know when the book comes out….
You have worked for so many movies,games and paintings,could
you take an well known and impressive project as example and elaborate
what you did in it?
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and Final Fantasy IX (the game) were
both very enriching experiences. For the movie, I moved from Los Angeles
to Hawaii. I was involved in the preproduction phase for two years, and
then moved to the game Final Fantasy IX, which was simply a dream to work
on. During FFIX, I switched from analog to digital design and digital
painting so I could return to work on the movie as a matte painter. I
learned very much being involved in the beginning and end stages of a
project and I gained valuable experience. Thanks to that knowledge, I
was able to art direct a team of 160 artists on Electronic Arts’
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King video game.
Anything special character,hobbies or habits you
have which make you standout and contribute to your success?
I obsessively sketch all the time and enjoy creating and telling stories.
The lightning story is very unusual experience,which
made you decide to go to LA,except this reasons,why did you want to work
for film industry in LA as an artist?
At first, I really didn’t plan on going specifically to Los Angeles
or the United States. I tried to find work in studios in Paris and Berlin,
but film production there was few and far between. In addition, the first
two movies I designed in Europe were never made. One night in my penthouse
in Brussels, I got hit by lightning. I survived the incident and was fine
after one week in the hospital, but it showed me that life is short, and
that it is important to try to achieve one’s full potential even
if that involves traveling to the other side of the world. I had an interesting
portfolio when I went to Los Angeles, but I really didn’t think
I would find work. To my surprise, I got hired in Digital Domain and my
career simply took off from there.
Today I work with clients from all over the world out of my little studio
in the Hollywood Hills. As I am working via the internet, I could actually
be anywhere in the world . . .
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